Employee Pleads Guilty After Lying About COVID

Trying to get paid leave, an Atlanta man told his company he'd tested positive
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2020 5:23 PM CST
Employee Pleads Guilty After Lying About COVID
A room in a large, temporary hospital built in April at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta for coronavirus patients.   (AP Photo/Ron Harris, Pool)

An Atlanta employee who went well beyond just calling in sick has been convicted. Santwon Antonio Davis, 35, falsely told his employer he had COVID-19, NBC reports. The company had to shut down a plant temporarily, costing it $100,000, and four of the man's colleagues had to go into quarantine, prosecutors said. The employee pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on Monday. Court documents identified his employer only as a Fortune 500 company. Davis hasn't been sentenced yet, but the plea agreement calls for a three-year prison term.

Davis' lie "caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his coworkers and their families," US Attorney Byung Jin Pak said. Davis reported testing positive for the coronavirus about a week after the company told employees they'd receive paid time off to quarantine if they became infected. He then turned in a falsified medical record, per the Department of Justice. The medical center Davis had cited later told the company he'd never been a patient there. Investigators uncovered other ways he'd defrauded his employer, per WDEF. One instance involved taking bereavement leave last year after the death of a child he didn't have. (More coronavirus stories.)

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